This was a sermon I heard in church. The humble priest-homilist asked to remain anonymous. But this sermon answered so many of my questions and brought so much to my awareness, just how deep Our Savior's Love is for us. By the end of the sermon, tears were running down my face. I hope it blesses you as it has blessed me...
Students of philosophy begin their studies with the most basic philosophical question there is: "why is there something instead of nothing?" Theology also begins with a basic question: "why did God become human?"
Jesus supplies a kind of basic answer in today's gospel: "Those who love me will be true to my word, and my Father will love them; we will come to them and make our dwelling place with them always."
That answer overlays the outlook of our scriptures. In Adam, all humankind sinned and, since we could not atone for that evil, God sent his Son to set things straight. There is surely something out of sync in the universe, and Jesus' mission makes him both heroic and lovable. But what if we had not sinned and did not need a savior? Would our very goodness have deprived us of the pleasure of Jesus' company?
Most theologians think not. Although nobody can prove a "what if situation, they start with the definition of God as love and conclude that God would have become human even if it was not necessary-because God loves us and love does unnecessary things.
Love also desires to know the beloved intimately and that calls for direct experience. Love also seeks equality by raising the beloved to its level or humbling itself to the beloved's state. So God raised us by grace as far as creatures can rise, and lowered himself as far as God can descend. Jesus was the meeting point, the trysting place.
In romantic but real terms, God had a passion for people, people had a weakness for God. And both those longings climaxed in the God-human Jesus. I like that. It highlights the similarity between God and us but does not ignore the undeniable difference.
I have sometimes imagined God as being frustrated with his creation. He wanted it to be free and have a life of its own, but He was disappointed that it often did not go his way. Oh, God sent prophets to speak for him and miracle workers to work for him-but it was like operating with mechanical arms.
You can picture God muttering over the earth: "If I were there, I would do this; if I were there, I would say this." Until that one day when God could not take it anymore and decided to humanize his Son.
Ah, that's better! Now, when God sees the wine running out, he has Jesus tell them to fill the jars- clear to the brim and overflowing, just the way he likes it. Now, when God sees a grieving widow's dead son, his own Son says, "Wake up, brother!" Now, when a prodigal comes home, both God and his Son beam, "Welcome back!"
My most poignant picture of God enfleshed in Jesus is the scene where he is looking down on Jerusalem. Dusk is falling and the farmers are returning from their fields, the fishermen are putting their nets away, shepherds are rounding up the strays and mothers are calling their children in from play. The whole town is returning to its center and nestling in for the night. And because the dying of day is a sad time, God sighs through his Son's breath, "0 Jerusalem, if you only knew how I long to gather you under my wings as a hen gathers her brood!"
Why did God become human? why did the chicken cross the road? why do foreign films seem so foreign? why ask "why"? This Easter season is the time to enjoy the fact that God become one of us, suffered, died and rose to save us from our sins. The lasting legacy of all of this is that one of us humans is God, and his name is Jesus.
As we bumble through our life with God, we uncover His Will, we conceal His Will, we distort His Will. But we have the consolation of knowing that, once in humankind's sorry story, one person did it totally right. He is the firstborn of God, our brother who always sticks up for us.
And if we are true to his word) his Father will love us; and they will come to us and make their dwelling place with us.